Writer/Director: Jorge Ameer -(35mm, 75 minutes-Drama)
Starring: Craig Pinkston, Jon Sherrin, Erin Leigh Price
Stylish and artful, this film by Jorge Ameer pulls its viewers into a free associative ride that incorporates two separate eras, or at least three, separate points of view and references that move fluidly between people we think we are and the people we might have been in earlier lifetimes.
Symbolism cheerfully weaves its way throughout this narrative in ways that touch on wildly free associative archetypes. Duets evolve into trios, trios devolve into duets, and we are warned, that human memories are so subjective that truth is, by definition, variable and intensely personal.
The Singing Forest opens with some of the most daring segues in the history of film-making. Tender scenes of gay male on male affection during the Weimar Republic alternate with views from emaciated corpses in the death camps at Auschwitz. Time streams forward, backwards and sideways. Some scenes evoke a Dada-is-tic revival of Alfred Hitchcock. Nazi storm troopers roaring down a staircase, dragging the almost emaciated corpse off to be tortured. These alternate with images of modern day healthy bodies that are bound and bleeding, a forecast of emaciated deaths to come. From there, the plot spins and then thickens around the dynamic of a modern day southern California family which, while hipper and more evolved than most, is ill equipped for the conflicting loyalties that evolve when resurrected soul-mates are reunited.
During the course of this film, tow swift-flowing streams of consciousness run constantly sometimes in different directions. Good-looking actors deftly switch in and out of realities in patterns that are sometimes synchronized and sometimes not. Like bodies swimming up from great watery depths, the two (extremely good looking) protagonist rediscover the love that bound them together during their tragically truncated earlier lives.
"a gay "GHOST"
MOVIE HOLIDAY PICKS -GENRE MAGAZINE
"There's full frontal nudity and a happy, if fantastical, ending!..."
THE WASHINGTON BLADE
The Singing Forest" uses graphic images to convey the horrors of the gay
Holocaust, a subject worthy of greater cinematic exploration."
Michael Mulvaney -LONG ISLAND COMMUNITY KONNECTION
"...with this complicated storyline, the actors performances are developed excellent."
Daniel Prada - GAYBARCELONA.NET
"...love from beyond the grave fanatasy."
Dennis Harvey- VARIETY
"Two gay lovers are killed during the Holocaust, are reincarnated and
brought back together in this little indie from writer-director Jorge
Ameer, sure to get some attention from its commingling of homosexuality and Nazi imagery."
"...a trivial tale of romance and reincarnation..."
Ken Fox-TV GUIDE ONLINE
"This unorthodox romantic saga also depicts the heartbreak and terror of the Holocaust"
"Add to the mix a couple of reincarnations and a gay paternal oedipal plot
line and you've got yourself one hell of a bush song!"
NEXT MAGAZINE - NEW YORK
Two gay lovers are killed during the Holocaust. Both reincarnate under different circumstances.
Christopher, a man with a grown daughter, believes her boyfriend is his lover from a past life. But is his daughter only a passage to the reunification of these two souls? A modern day fairy tale about death and reincarnation.
THE BACK STORY
(GERMANY 1933) Jo and Alexander were a happy couple in Germany until Hitler persecuted men who engage in homosexual acts. When men were found to be gay during the Hitler regime, they were taken to encampments and experimented upon, tortured and usually killed. Many knew that once they were captured they were destined to death. Very few escaped alive. The others who were left alive either lost their sanity or committed suicide. In the "Singing Forest" the film tells the story of Jo and Alexander. These two lovers also worked together. Their boss, fond of their relationship, liked both men but soon will have to prove his loyalty in a life and death situation. When Alexander is captured and taken to the encampments one night on his way home from work, word gets to Jo. In a moment of desperation and a last effort to save his loved one, Jo goes to his boss who was recently recruited to join theNazi party.
Knowing the consequences of his actions, Jo asks his boss to lend him one of his uniforms so he may pose as a guard to enter the encampment and rescue Alexander. Documents are recreated and a uniformed altered by both Jo and his boss. Soon thereafter, Jo is sworn to secrecy or face death if captured. Jo successfully makes it through the gates and guards at the encampment. The guards however were aware of Jo's status and allowed him to proceed to rescue his loved one as they followed him. Upon finding a very weak and battered Alexander, Jo rushes with his lover towards the forest where the only way out is through the wilderness. Upon entering the forest, the Nazi guards give chase to the hunting of the lovers. With little hope left, Alexander tells Jo to save himself for both are not worth dying in the hunt. Jo refuses, but sees the Nazi closing in on them. One last hug and kiss seals the fate of this doomed couple with the promise that in love or death, true love lasts forever.
THE STORY...PERCEPTION VS REALITY
We all live in two worlds. The world we create for ourselves and the world as it is. Our perception of the world can be pleasant or miserable depending on the conditions and situation we are raised in and continue to create as a matter of choice. Circumstance and change are the constant elements that we are forced to deal with. It is these two worlds that create the situation we are living. However, tortured and lonely souls exist because there is always something missing. The Singing Forest examines the state of mind, the reality of the world as seen through the eyes of the main character vs. the true actual circumstances that are currently taking place. Both these scenarios creates the third option of perception... the way people see us. However, the way we are perceived by other is not always factual, but it is just another realty seen by the eyes who watch us. Their reality is distorted based on a combination of their past experiences and how that has predisposed them to deal with the present and the future. In other words, we live in a world we create for ourselves. In the film of "The Singing Forest", your experience is guided through the eyes of Christopher.
THE DIRECTOR'S COMMENTARY -
REINCARNATION: A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY
Religions are based partly on mythology, philosophy, history and mysticism. These elements are used to shape our behavior, as they were to create the "moral rules of man". From ancient civilizations to the present, man has always had a need to believe. For the most part, we tend to believe in things we can't see nor understand. We draw wisdom from understanding things that are above and beyond us. Ancient civilization worships the earth, sun, sea and the sky. These were all considered gods to them. In Greek civilization they were personified with statues. We now believe in forces beyond us that we cannot control. We call it God. Other religions use different names for the same factor. If we believe in something we can see, is it possible to understand why there was a before or after us? Reincarnation is the body of energy transmitted from one source to another, so why is it so difficult for some of us to understand the power within ourselves.... the possibilities?
There are no answers to these questions. However, "The Singing Forest" attempts to expose the powers of these elements (which are beyond us) by testing our faith as we see Christopher trying to find the meaning of life.